Thespis; a fragment

After a performance in the ancient Greek theatre the famous actor Thespis is praised for his performance.

XEL
Thespis, you were wonderful. You really become someone different when
you perform. It’s wonderful to watch you perform and to see
all of this happening today. All of Athens is talking about it, aren’t
you pleased?

THESPIS
No! No I’m unhappy.

XEL
Unhappy! Why?

THESPIS
Why…Here look into this mirror, what do you see?
I can only see myself as others see me. My true self is never there.
My reflection in a strange mirror is always unpleasant. I can never see
the man I feel I am there, only the one who others see as me.
The shadows that cover me are full of pain, full of mystery and
strangeness. They expose the grimace that hides in my features,
like hardened leather beneath the surface . A mask that supports the
flesh above.
I know a terrible depression came upon me once. The result of a painful
shock that concussed my whole spirit for several years. That was when the
mask grew beneath the surface of my features. It was of course the old
face that died while the new one grew over it like ivy. But it grew
without love; it grew without correction, for the muscles were in spasm,
there had even been a minor fit that affected one side of my face. The
result of stress from the misery of a terrible loss during childhood. The
mask beneath the surface is all I can ever see of myself….

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